Thursday, October 4, 2012

pole barns

We need a building. We need under roof storage, so the garage can resume its normal function, we plan to do livestock, and I need a workshop area. Hence a barn. Since we don't live there yet, and a pole barn is a big project, we will use a local contractor to build it for us next summer.

So now I'm learning that pole barns ( or pole sheds, as many insist on calling them. I guess in my size range, maybe "barn" is a tad presumptuous. ) are apparently such a standard and well known commodity, that everyone just assumes we know all the details involved. I really have avoided revealing I'm an engineer, but rather trot out the yuppie from the suburbs schtik to explain my ignorance. To inquire about the design basis, or how they determine the truss size or spacing evokes hesitation and a slightly embarrassed perplexity as to how to answer.

I am doing parallel study in the internet, but haven't dug too much yet. I know that many details and standard methods are driven by building codes and years of knowledge passed down, and are fine if done to code, but how do I know whether an individual guy is making it up or is cutting corners? One more reason I'm getting three quotes.

And one of the contractors is Amish, which brings a whole new layer of communication difficulty. I drove out to his house twice just to initiate discussions. He will be mailing me his quote in the next few days. I was fortunate that he is one of the Amish who uses phones, though I believe the phone is in a little shed outside the house. Turns out that because of where we live, he figures he will use the horses to come to work. Beyond a certain radius, he hires a "English" driver to haul him, his crew and tools to out place.

We also have had a heck of a time choosing a flat, accessible location. As it is, we'll be doing some dirt work and recontouring part of the pasture. The issue with getting a building permit deserves a whole other post.

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